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HP taps Google's print server in the sky

Print jobs via interwebs

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HP has announced that its ePrint printers are the first to support Google Cloud Print, a service that lets print via the interwebs.

"With HP ePrint and cloud-aware printers, you get the best experience printing via Google Cloud Print," crowed Stephen Nigro headman of HP's Imaging and Printing Group in a canned statement.

Google director of product management Mike Jazayeri also took a moment to crow, and to clarify that HP's ePrint printers – available in OfficeJet, PhotoSmart, Envy, and LaserJet incarnations – aren't the only devices to benefit from his company's cloudy service. "While cloud printing is possible with any printer that is connected to a PC," he said, "users can achieve a more streamlined, intuitive experience by printing directly to a cloud-ready printer."

In other words, if your printer can talk to Google's Cloud Print APIs – as do HP's ePrint devices – you can print directly to them by sending your print job to Google's servers, which check to see if your Cloud Print–enabled printer is registered with the service. If so, off the print job goes, and your printer spits it out.

If your printer is not Cloud Print–enabled, it needs to be connected to a PC that's connected to the intertubes.

In a blog post on Thursday, Google software engineer Abhijit Kalamkar boasted that "you can already use Google Cloud Print on Chrome notebooks" as well as the mobile versions of Gmail and Google Docs, a third-party Android app, a Chrome extension,j and Firefox add-on.

Kalamkar's mention of "Chome notebooks", of course, refers to a rather limited set of, well, one model – and that one, the Google Cr-48, is still a beta baby, only available to a select few developers, opinion-makers, and other random souls.

Google Cloud Print was first revealed last April as a service in support of Mountain View's browser-based Chrome OS, which was at that time intended to appear at the end of 2010. At its announcement, Cloud Print was also said to be able to print from other devices as well, though Chrome OS was its prime raison d'être.

When Chrome OS slipped its due date – Google now says it'll appear in "mid-2011" in devices from Acer and Samsung – Cloud Print took on a life of its own, launching in December 2010.

But it wasn't until this Thursday that all the parts came together: Cloud Print, Cloud Print–ready apps such as mobile versions of Gmail and Google Docs, and now Cloud Print–ready printers from HP. ®

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